David Bowie & Kanye West – Showdown at the RS Corral

David Bowie saying goodbye

So long mates.

By Nolan Apostle
Contributing Editor
Event City Premier Magazine

First off, my sincere condolences to David Bowie’s family for their loss. It is most difficult to lose a loved one, but when in the public’s eye it is that much more difficult as the family is constantly reminded of their loss. Bowie, as most fans referred to him, was in constant flux. I do not believe there was another artist on the planet that has reinvented him or herself as much as Bowie did throughout his career. Most importantly, he not only did it his way, but was successful each time.

Several hours after the 69 year old Bowie passed away I came across a unique dialog of several thousand members going at it on the Rolling Stone Magazine’s Facebook page. Not because David Bowie was now gone (Rest In Peace my chameleon Rocker), it was a dialog which began at the invite of Rolling Stone Magazine urging its visitors to explore the hundreds, if not thousands of comments already propagating on their page. The magazine introduced the dialog with a photograph of a live shot of Bowie playing an acoustic guitar. The photo’s caption read, “Kanye West, Pharrell, Brian Eno Remember David Bowie”, and added, “The Weeknd, Haim also pay tribute to iconic singer’s influence.”

I’m certainly not a Kanye West fan and I may not agree with his unprofessional antics away from his live performances, but regardless of what you think of him personally, Kanye is a very successful artist.  So what is all of the hub bub about on RS Facebook? Can’t a celebrity fan, maybe even a friend, leave their personal thoughts to his family and friends like anyone else? Fans are complaining that Kanye West left his condolences on the site, along with probably by now, many other celebrities. What seems to be the biggest complaint is the onslaught of David Bowie fans (or Kanye West haters) claim that Kanye didn’t even like the Rock legend’s music so why is he on there anyway. While reading the comments one doesn’t have to travel far down the list to begin seeing the ensuing battle between fans of both artists. The various cheap shots taken by the fans at each other is actually quite entertaining. What it boils down to, and yes the conversations were getting pretty hot, did Kanye West appreciate the Rock legend’s talent?

I remember Crawdaddy, the Rock’n’Roll magazine which was a pinnacle of the era of Rock and began in the 60’s somewhat of a training ground for music journalist as the magazine preceded Creem and Rolling Stone. Through a roller-coaster of publishing efforts, the on again, off again Crawdaddy finally folded for the last time in 2003 and in 2006 was sold to Wolfgang’s Vault. They brought it back as a website in the style of a blog and one of the articles was about David Bowie and Kanye West. I searched and search the web and couldn’t find it anywhere, but I remember reading it and thought it was interesting. So digging deep into the bowels of the “secret archival internet” I did find a version of it, which is below. Food for thought, David Bowie and Kanye West, may not have collaborated directly, but who’s to say they didn’t appreciate and admire each others talents. You be the judge.

bowie-west

David Bowie and Kanye West previous article

Promiscuous Anglerfish: David Bowie vs. Kanye West

by Mark Asch • May 21, 2009

**Courtesy of David Bowie** –  There are several ways we might go about demonstrating that hip-hop, not rock (or country, or old-time folk, or jazz, or blues, or chamber, or orchestral classical music, or opera, or musical theater, or mainstream radio pop, or whatever else you might name as a world unto itself), is the dominant form of today’s American popular music. We might demonstrate it via an example as significant as hip-hop’s lyrics, which speak for the nation the way rock used to. (There is a straight line leading from Buddy Holly’s “My love bigger than a Cadillac” to Biggie’s “Birthdays was the worst days, now we sip champagne when we thirst-ay”—the desire for size, appreciation, and material goods, belted out in primal grammar. Revivalists like the Hold Steady approach arena legacy, but their songs are about that tradition, not part of it.) Or we might demonstrate it via an example as mundane as the fact that a twentysomething douchebag like Asher Roth feels most comfortable using rap, not backwards-baseball-cap-party-band music, as the vehicle for his frat-tastic boasts. But the way we will go about demonstrating this premise here is by noting how hip-hop now does what rock used to do: Namely, absorb all the lesser genres it comes in contact with, in much the same way a male anglerfish is absorbed into the bloodstream of the larger female with which it copulates.

There used to be rappers invited to drop by and lend some novelty to rock songs (KRS-One on “Radio Song”, remember?); now rappers have little guitarist catamites that they carry around like itsy bitsy dogs in sweaters (Lil Wayne with Kevin Rudolf, for instance). But I’m talking less about head-to-head dominance than relative gravitational force. In its origins as a collage of samples, hip-hop has an undeniable advantage here; still, note how we’ve gone from horn loops to undisguised lifts, like in Flo Rida’s frankensteined ’80s one-hit-wonder “Right Round.” But the clearest way to make this point is with an SAT-style analogy:

Rock : Hip-hop :: David Bowie : Kanye West.

David Bowie was, and still probably is, rock’s great changeling, starting out as a folkie in a frock, getting psychedelic and stargazing, bringing in Mick Ronson for power chords, glamming up, delving into Brecht-and-Weill cabaret pop, and that’s just the early ’70s. But it was more than just the chameleonic role-playing—the Thin White Duke just kept ingesting music, making it a part of his discography, and thus, because of his rock star status, demanding that his influences be taken seriously as rock. (And demanding that a dramatic cycle—the “rock opera”—be taken for granted as a natural structure for three-minute pop songs.) He revived a garage-rocker’s career, made some blue-eyed soul records, and then, when the coke caught up to him, listened to some Brian Eno, chilled out, and made the Berlin Trilogy. Hoo boy, the Berlin trilogy. Ambient or otherwise experimental music’s texture and krautrock’s inscrutable rigor—it’s still a head trip. And it cleared Bowie’s mindset so right that he spent most of the ’80s knocking out assured dance-pop hits, bringing aboard a rotating cast of comparatively short-lived (career-wise) stars to make the records glitter. Those of us who grew up on ’90s alternative radio have strong memories of Bowie’s dalliance with Trent Reznor, but aside from his industrial buzz bin, he saw a lot of stuff coming, particularly the futuristic placelessness of dance music. (Not really surprising.) Now, aside from the occasional experimental one-off—no more planting a flag in a genre and claiming it for the rock canon—he mostly patronizes indie rockers like Arcade Fire and Secret Machines.

I am willing to bet that David Bowie’s iPod, which probably looks a lot like your iPod, looks a lot like Kanye West’s iPod, and not just because both of them established their critical bona fides once and for all by going to Berlin (albeit only musically in Kanye’s case, though I’d like him even more if he had tried to chart with a song called “Drunky Hot Bowls”). Spot-the-influence is easier with rappers than it is with rockers, of course, and Courtesy of Kanye Westbecause appropriation is much more obvious, it also becomes more brazen. Is Kanye showing off by ripping Daft Punk and Peter, Bjorn and John? I think he is. I think he gets off on taking indie stars, critical darlings, and trends (or some combination thereof), and proving to us that his songs are big enough to fit their songs. In Kanye’s house, there are many dwelling places (which, when I think about it, is the kind of line I’m surprised no rapper has ever, to my knowledge, used as a boast).

But he, like Bowie, also really loves this stuff. 808s and Heartbreak is, I think, a record every bit as surprisingly miraculous and necessary as the Berlin Trilogy. (You know what album we will not be saying this about? Rebirth. But I… yeah.) That a rap star would make a mopey, distanced, shrink’s-couch synth-pop record—well, it’s as unlikely and as bold as a rock star making mopey, distanced, shrink’s-couch krautrock records. That Kanye West would ever channel something as totally cred-free as Depeche Mode—and on a song as personal as “Welcome to Heartbreak”—says something about what musical genre is at the top of the food chain right now.

And it’s catching, especially through Kanye. I’m honestly surprised I haven’t seen “Brooklyn, We Go Hard” on t-shirts where I live yet, but I’m pretty sure I will. It sounds like a line Jay-Z would write himself, but it was Santogold’s line first. Santogold is herself an interesting case, an indie darling before her crossover success, whose songs sound like reggae, Blondie, Tegan and Sara, and that paragon of blenderized mash-up beats, M.I.A. But she’s been claimed, much like “Swagger Like Us” took M.I.A. away from the indie blogosphere and into the rap game and the Grammys: M.I.A.’s an adjunct to hip-hop now, thanks to a song produced by—yup—Kanye West. (Nerdy, witty, status-obsessed, quick to claim indie sensations: Has there ever been a pop star easier to imagine as a religious Pitchfork reader?) As Bowie stakes claim to a smaller sphere of new music (and as, say, Madonna and Prince, who once had the whole world in their hands, respectively play touristic dress-up and hit the same old notes), Kanye’s making it pretty clear: All your music belongs to rap.

Watch: David Bowie, “Ziggy Stardust

Watch: David Bowie, “Lazarus

Watch: Kanye West, “Only One ft.

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Above article source: Web Deep Internet Archives

 

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